Widowed Women Most Likely to Turn to Financial Advisers

Nearly half (40.5%) of widows say they rely on financial advisers for investing advice, more than double any other female demographic group, according to The OppenheimerFunds, Inc. 2007 Women&Investing Survey.

When asked which source of information they relied on for investing advice, widowed respondents were followed by divorced (17.3%), married/co- habitants (16.7%), and single women(11%), according to an Oppenheimer press release. Widows were the least likely group to rely on no source of investment information.

Married and co-habitants are equally as likely to rely on co-workers, friends, and relatives for investment advice as they are their spouse or a financial professional, the release said. Most women surveyed (73%) overall do not work with a financial adviser and the number one stated reason (71%) is that they do not think they have enough money, while 8% said they invest on their own.

Widowed respondents expressed more confidence when it came to managing their money, with nearly 65% of giving themselves a rating of 8 or better on a scale of 1-10 when asked how good a job they are doing managing their money. This compares with nearly 40% of married/co-habitants and single respondents and 52% of divorced respondents who answered in the same way. Among those surveyed who felt they were not very knowledgeable about investing, nearly 50% fell in the 35-54 age range.

“Our research shows that women want financial advisers to start discussing retirement planning with them more than 10 years prior to retirement, when in reality, those discussions need to take place much sooner,” said Lauren Coulston, Assistant Vice President, Advocacy and Training Manager at OppenheimerFunds, in the release.

Retirement Planning

Although the majority of women overall (58%) agreed that retirement was their primary investment goal, half indicated they do not participate in a retirement plan. When asked why, most (55%) responded that they do have enough extra money to save, nearly 40% said they are not working, and nearly 30% said paying off debt impacted saving for retirement. Further, 40% of respondents said they never rebalance their retirement plan portfolio.

Widowed respondents were more likely (almost 68%) to list retirement as their primary investment goal than women who are divorced (59%), married/co-habitants (57%), or single (54%). They were also least likely to cite a lack of extra money as the reason they are not currently participating in a retirement savings vehicle or plan, the release said.

Women within the second wave of Boomers-ages 43 through 51, within what is considered the “lost generation” and Gen Xers are the most unprepared for retirement, according to the survey. Overall, 79% of women did not feel financially prepared for retirement, the majority of which (52%) were between the ages of 35-54.

When asked how often they think about retirement, only 25% of respondents said they think about it often or very often and 30% said they do not think about it at all. Seventy-nine percent of women admitted to a lack of preparation for retirement.

Forty-four percent of respondents said retirement plans will be their primary source of income during retirement, one-third indicated they expect to rely on social security, and 12% on pensions.

An overwhelming majority of women said health care costs (93%), inflation (82%), social security (82%), and standard of living (80%) would be big concerns for them while they were in retirement. In fact, although 93% of women are concerned about health care costs in retirement, half of women surveyed said they do not plan to purchase long-term care insurance in retirement.